June 22, 2020
What Else Could the Village of Glen Ellyn Have Done with $550,000?

60 Minutes — Scrub Forward to Key Times: 1:50 for Intro | 5:43 for Public Comment | 37:27 for Board Discussion | 56:10 for Vote

What WASN’T discussed before the vote was taken to GIFT AT&T $550,000+ of Glen Ellyn taxpayers’ money over 25 years:

Click each category  ↓

Discussion of the 4-3 Vote

Voted AYE

on $550,000+ GIFT to AT&T

  1. Gary Fasules, Trustee | Term: 2017 to 2021
  2. Bill Enright, Trustee | Term: 2017 to 2021
  3. Craig Pryde, Trustee | Term: 2017 to 2021
  4. Diane McGinley, President | Term: 2017 to 2021

Voted NO

on $550,000+ GIFT to AT&T

  1. Kelli Christiansen, Trustee | Term: 2019 to 2023
  2. Steve Thompson, Trustee | Term: 2019 to 2023
  3. Mark Senak, Trustee | Term: 2019 to 2023
  4. THE PUBLIC (we cast our votes in Nov, 2020)

Here’s the Story 

Members of Glen Ellyn-VHP attended the June 22, 2020 Village of Glen Ellyn (VGE) Trustee Board meeting via Zoom and appreciated VGE changing its Zoom meeting configuration to allow speakers to make comments in their own voices, instead of having the City Clerk read emails that were sent to the Board — which had been the only way we were allowed to make public comment since March, 2020.

Members of Glen Ellyn-VHP reviewed the proposed amendment to a 25-year wireless licensing agreement that the VGE and AT&T signed in 1999, with renewals scheduled every five years, with very short notice. We recommended that VGE either stick with the current contract and earn the full $346,377 in rent through 2024 — or call AT&T’s bluff to see if they would actually remove their equipment, something we saw as an empty threat, a mere negotiating tactic but a benefit to the people in that specific area — or postpone the vote to afford us more time to review the contracts in order to negotiate a better deal and evaluate what is actually going on. Additionally, we also recommended a Wireless Commission to oversee these matters because we can clearly see that no one is paying attention to the details.

  • Current contract: about $350,000 over a six-year term (about $58,000 per year), ending in 2024
  • AT&T Proposed: $220,000 over a six-year term ($36,000 per year) — a rent decrease of 37%
  • Staff Proposed: $290,000 over a six-year term ($48,000 per year) — a rent decrease of 18% and an extension of this agreement another twenty years to 2045!

At 8:57 in the video, VGE Director of Community Development Staci Springer and Trustee Senak discussed:

Springer: “This is talking about antennas atop a 120 foot tall water tower. This is not talking about the smaller wireless cellular items that are being placed closer to the ground and throughout the community . . . it doesn’t relate to an increase or a decrease in the small cells that are being proposed.”

Senak: “The agreement that you are referring to — you say it began in 1999 — from what I see, it looks like it goes up through 2024”

Springer: “Well it . . . has been renewed multiple times, every five years and that agreement actually technically ended in 2019 . . um . . . but since that time passed (2019) and neither of us cancelled the agreement, now it goes through 2024. They are proposing to change the rent, but make it not in 2024, but make it now”.

Senak: “So what we are considering here is not a change to any specific term of the agreement other than the dollar amount that is paid and received“.

Springer: “Correct . . . they don’t have a great need for these taller antennas, but the village would be collecting $350,000 over five years, so . . . they would reduce the rent and then commit to another five-year term, rather than removing their equipment.”

Unfortunately, the information presented by Springer is substantially wrong:

  • As Springer admitted later in the video, the AT&T antennas are NOT “atop a 120 foot tall water tower”, but are installed only at around 70 feet above the ground, below the water tank.
  • Springer did NOT tell the Board the key specific term of the agreement that changed — the extension of the agreement through 2045.
  • Springer did NOT emphasize that since AT&T did not cancel the agreement in 2019, the terms were set through 2024 and AT&T did NOT have the right to remove its equipment until 2024 — after it paid its full rent to VGE: $346,376.

Also, at 39:14 in the video, VGE Director of Community Development Staci Springer said:

“What’s being requested this evening is purely a change to the rent. It’s up to the Village Board to decide if they want to allow this change to the rent . . . It is actually a loss of about $300,000. When I said the loss was around $50,000 that [would be mutliplied by] a five year [she mean a six year] period . . . I guess we are getting 360,000 over the next five years [again she meant six years] if we keep the terms the way they are. If you want James to comment on whether or not they’re going to pull their antennas off, that’s fine.”

The 4-3 Vote on June 22:

With some creativity and greater attention to detail, there are many benefits to VGE residents that AT&T can provide that were never considered by the VGE negotiating team:

  • What about additional AT&T fiber optic installed to homes?
  • What about additional AT&T fiber optic installed to schools who need the bandwidth for distance learning?
  • What about a requirement for all Wireless Cos. to share fiber optic installed in VGE public rights-of-way to allow the owners of the public rights-of-way, i.e. the VGE residents, to connect their homes to this fiber optic cable?

The gift of $550,000 to AT&T is a terrible deal for everyone. This vote does not seem logical to anyone that can use a calculator — and that includes even 12-year-olds that we asked. Who wouldn’t want an 18% discount on their rent, but this is over $550,000! Did any of you get an 18% discount on your rent or on the fees you pay to VGE for improving your bathroom?

We were surprised that the VGE Village Manager and Village President jointly placed this $550,000+ loss in VGE revenue on the consent agenda, meaning there was not going to be any discussion or separate vote on the item. Consent agendas are for small, noncontroversial items of little consequence to the residents of VGE. For efficiency, the Board votes 10-15 items through at one time because there is little need to discuss them. Should that apply to a 25-year contract on a Cell Tower that went through VGE litigation? We don’t think so.

What is Going On?

A question that needs to be answered with evidence and precision.

Trustee Senak acted reasonably on June 22 to ask for the following:

  1. For this item, Item 11 (Ordinance 6787), to be removed from the consent agenda so it could be come an agendized item, which allowed for public comment.
  2. To postpone consideration of the item until the next VGE Trustee Board meeting because it would allow sufficient time to investigate the options and sufficient time for the public to analyze something that was not surfaced to them, despite several, lengthy direct face-to-face meetings between members of Glen Ellyn-VHP and VGE staff, during the week of June 15.

All four Village Trustees who voted “AYE” for this are up for re-election this year, as their terms end in 2021. Please take the time to express your displeasure at this unnecessary $550,000+ gift of your taxpayer funds to AT&T. 

PLEASE ALSO NOTE:  for the last 27 years, AT&T collected their fair share of the $500 Billion in fees charged to legacy, copper landline customer from 1993 to the present for the express purpose of upgrading the copper landlines to fiber optic lines under Title II Telecommunications regulation.

What did AT&T then do with your money? In violation of § 254(k) of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (1996-Act), AT&T cross-subsidized their unregulated private wireless companies’ wireless expansion, with funds from and fees collected by its regulated State Public Telecommunications Utility companies. In other words, they took the money and ran. 

Title 47 § 247(k)

(k) Subsidy of competitive services prohibited — A telecommunications carrier may not use services that are not competitive to subsidize services that are subject to competition. The Commission, with respect to interstate services, and the States, with respect to intrastate services, shall establish any necessary cost allocation rules, accounting safeguards, and guidelines to ensure that services included in the definition of universal service bear no more than a reasonable share of the joint and common costs of facilities used to provide those services.”

Read more here:

Wh-a-a-at? This is the firm that Glen Ellyn is intending to gift over $550,000???

Here is everything to review:

The following video links/times are well worth listening to:

  • Video (see above or) → https://glenellynvillageil.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1848&Format=Agenda
  • Video @ 22:15 → Public comment that (a) requested that item #11 re: 3rd Amendment to Licensing Agreement for Cottage Age. Water Tower Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) be pulled off the consent agenda and (b) explained the benefits of a Wireless Needs Test (WNT) — a test that would be cost VGE $0.
  • Video @ 33:10 → Trustee Senak requests that item #11 be pulled from the consent agenda
  • Video @ 46:10 → Item #11 Presentation: 3rd Amendment to Licensing Agreement for Cottage Age. Water Tower WTF
  • Video @ 55:55 → Public comment
  • Video @ 1:28:00 → Trustee Discussion
  • Video @ 1:44:30 → Vote 4-3, McGinley broke the tie with her vote to approve the $550,000+ rent decrease

The 4-3 vote on Item 11 (Ordinance 6787) made no sense to three of our VGE Board Trustees, to every member of Glen Ellyn-VHP, and we would guess to all reading this page.

We do, however, recognize that the vote was taken on June 22, 2020, for a rent discount only, as President McGinley said. The process of negotiating this item, writing the staff report and packaging this up for a Board vote needs to be investigated.

MEANWHILE, Glen Ellyn VHP is moving forward with our strong suggestion for a local Ordinance, that we would like to get on the VGE Trustee Board Agenda in July/Aug 2020:

Written Evidence — Wireless Antenna Need Test In Telecommunications (WE-WANT-IT) Ordinance

WE-WANT-IT would require a Comprehensive Wireless Signal Strength Test to be conducted every six months by an independent RF Engineer, who will log, second-by-second, the Wireless signal-strength levels in dBm (decibel-milliWatts) of every carrier-specific licensed and unlicensed wireless frequency that is being transmitted to the streets of Glen Ellyn. The full data file for each WE-WANT-IT test will be placed in the public record for anyone to view, analyze and verify and will serve as the basis for local decisions, regarding:

  • the need for any additional Wireless infrastructure; and
  • the placement, construction, modification and operations of WTFs of Any G within Glen Ellyn’s borders.

The Cost for each WE-WANT-IT test would be paid by antenna operators on a pro rata basis: the share of each Wireless Company’s antenna capabilities, meaning the percentage of the sum of the maximum Effective Radiated Power that could be transmitted by each antenna operating within Glen Ellyn.

Read more here → https://ourtownourchoice.org/survival.

Appendix A: VGE Evidence from July 22,2020

Appendix B: Analysis of Ordinance 6787

Was This a Good Deal for the Village of Glen Ellyn Taxpayers?
No! President McGinley, we want our $550,000+ back.

YearFormer + 3 % Incr.Lower base + 2% incr.DifferenceVGE Taxpayers’ Money Given to AT&T
2019$53,549.00 $46,000.00 ($7,549.00)VGE gave this discount retroactively
2020$55,155.47 $46,920.00 ($8,235.47) 
2021$56,810.13 $47,858.40 ($8,951.73) 
2022$58,514.44 $48,815.57 ($9,698.87) 
2023$60,269.87 $49,791.88 ($10,477.99) 
2024$62,077.97 $50,787.72 ($11,290.25) 
TOTAL$346,376.88 $290,173.56 ($56,203.32)$56,203 given to AT&T through 2024
YearFormer +3% Incr.Lower base + 2% incr.DifferenceVGE Taxpayers’ Money Given to AT&T
2025$63,940.31 $51,803.47 ($12,136.84) 
2026$65,858.52 $52,839.54 ($13,018.98) 
2027$67,834.27 $53,896.33 ($13,937.94) 
2028$69,869.30 $54,974.26 ($14,895.04) 
2029$71,965.38 $56,073.74 ($15,891.64) 
2030$74,124.34 $57,195.22 ($16,929.12) 
2031$76,348.07 $58,339.12 ($18,008.95) 
2032$78,638.52 $59,505.91 ($19,132.61) 
2033$80,997.67 $60,696.02 ($20,301.65) 
2034$83,427.60 $61,909.94 ($21,517.66) 
2035$85,930.43 $63,148.14 ($22,782.29) 
2036$88,508.34 $64,411.11 ($24,097.24) 
2037$91,163.59 $65,699.33 ($25,464.26) 
2038$93,898.50 $67,013.31 ($26,885.19) 
2039$96,715.45 $68,353.58 ($28,361.87) 
2040$99,616.92 $69,720.65 ($29,896.27) 
2041$102,605.43 $71,115.06 ($31,490.36) 
2042$105,683.59 $72,537.37 ($33,146.22) 
2043$108,854.10 $73,988.11 ($34,865.98) 
2044$112,119.72 $75,467.88 ($36,651.84) 
2045$115,483.31 $76,977.23 ($38,506.08) 
TOTAL$1,833,583.36 $1,335,665.33 ($497,918.03)$554,121 given to AT&T through 2045